Well, thanks to my family, who are at least reading these even if no one else is, and putting me right on any details my memory seems to be lapsing on! My memory is not great at the best of times, so add in my fuzzy virus ridden head and yes, this year’s April A-Z blog challenge may well be full of incorrect recollections!
Yesterday I had a break, so it is today, on Day 9, I bring you a TV classic from my youth with the letter H. And in true ‘I’m not a girly girl’ style, today H is for…
He-man (and The Masters of The Universe)
Is there anything, TV show wise or merchandise/toy wise which epitomises a 1980s childhood more than He Man and the Masters of The Universe, because if there is I cannot think of it. Following the adventures of Prince Adam of Eternia, (who becomes He-Man), I never really quite got what was going on, other than our ‘hero’ had to stop the evil Skeletor from seeing his evil genius plans through to fruition. He-Man resided in Castle Grayskull of course, from where all his heroing adventures were based. (Skulls seemed to be a big theme??!)
I’ve been learning a lot about He-Man and its history today doing a little memory jogging online and discovered its link to Star Wars (who knew?) and Conan The Barbarian (again, who knew?) and how it actually started with the merchandise rather than the TV show, (again I knew this not.) I recall my brother may have had some figures (I’m sure he’ll set me straight on whether he did or not and as to which ones) though it could have been our second cousin or my mum’s friend’s kids who had them. Or all of them. I do remember rotating/twisty waists on figures though, so perhaps he did have some.
All I knew about really, anyway, going back to the TV show, was the cartoon, which first appeared on our screens in 1983 and was something my brother was far more into than the rest of us. It was probably he who started us watching it, although I used to like tuning in to see if Skeletor would actually defeat He-Man who I found far too cheesy and irritating! I think we all wanted Skeletor to get one over on He-Man, just once. He-Man was just too…well…perfect! And no, I did not have a weird crush on He-Man like I did with Spiderman or Mark from Battle of the Planets, but probably because He-Man was flaunting everything he had on a plate. We all need a little mystery and something be left to the imagination. Even my 9 year old self seemed to realise that much!
So we always rooted for Skeletor, because let’s face it Skeletor was actually really funny. And ridiculous in the extreme. A bluish-purple skeleton with a bright yellow skull living in a castle in a place called Snake Mountain. Just brilliant and not at all sinister. Just completely comedic. I have blogged before about my strange liking and rooting for cartoon villains here, and why I did, so I won’t go on about it so much, but seriously, He-Man really was cheesier than an episode of Wallace and Gromit set on the moon eating every type of cheese.
This ‘cheesiness’ was especially true at the end of each episode when Prince Adam (He-Man’s alter-ego) would explain the moral to the story in that episode, and then all the ‘goodies’ would stand around laughing ‘Hahahahahaha’. It was hilarious (though meant to be the ‘serious’ bit) and we did take the mickey out of it a bit. I know, I make us all sound as though we had no morals growing up, rooting for the evil villain – I mean just once he could have won, surely?! But I think it may have been more to do with us rooting for the underdogs. Because we knew that’s exactly what the villains were.
I liked Evil Lynn over Teela, of course. She was Skeletor’s side kick and held her own pretty well for a cartoon female character wearing not much at all (none of them did – I can only presume it was baking hot in Eternia). Orko, the little red floaty magician thing, was completely irritating (I know, I know his lack of magical skills on Eternia were supposed to create humour – hmmmmm, no), as was silly Cringer the Cat (who turned into Battlecat – miraculously losing all his fears in one swift lightning bolt administered by his keeper, Adam of Eternia AKA He-Man)! Then there was Man-At-Arms, whose actual name was as dull and non-descript as I found his character – Duncan. I did always used to think what a stupid name Man-at -Arms was when I was a kid, but I suppose it was intended more as a title than a name thinking about it now. Thinking back, why did I watch this programme and like it? Hahaha!
Ah yes…as with many of my favourite TV shows from my youth, I suppose it was, as ever the theme tune which hooked me in. (Who else sung along “He has the power to lift up a flower, out in the sun or the rain” over the instrumental part?!) But it wasn’t the theme tune necessarily which grabbed me, it was overall the opening credits being quite visually spectacular for the time they were made I suppose which did it. It was all very dramatic! “By The Power of Grayskuuuuuuuuuuullllllllllll” Prince Adam would shout before being transformed out of his pink attire into (virtually) his birthday suit and roaring “I haaaaave the poweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr” as he held his sword aloft, sparks flying left, right and centre.
Of course, to balance it all out for girls, She Ra (Princess of Power) was released sometime later. Just as cheesy – Princess Adora is Prince Adam’s sister, but she lives, not on Eternia, but on Etheria (Star Wars‘ Luke and Leia anyone??) and turns her horse, Spirit, into Swift Wind, a flying, talking unicorn. Apparently the idea was to give something to appeal to girls along the same lines as He-Man gave to boys, (Or to make more money out of merchandise, whichever you wish to believe!), but to be honest, I was happy with the He Man programme. I had Evil Lynn to look up to, after all! 😉